British govt must become part of the solution


Today's refusal by the British government to publish Judge Peter Cory's report into collusion between the security forces and the murderers of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright is a slap in the face to the families of the victims and everyone who has campaigned for a new human rights-based culture in the North of Ireland.

The Finucane family, who have been campaigning now for almost 15 years to get to the truth about the murder of the human rights solicitor in his north Belfast home, originally dismissed the Cory Inquiry as another distraction.

They said it was simply another attempt by the British government to delay the inevitable full public judicial inquiry needed to get to the bottom of the collusion in his murder between the British security services, RUC Special Branch and loyalist paramilitaries.

The British government pledged however, that it would publish the findings of the retired Canadian judge's investigations into the four killings investigated in the North.

Peter Cory submitted those findings to the British and Irish governments two months ago as well as his conclusions on the possibility of collusion between Gardai and the IRA in the killings of Judge Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily and RUC men Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.

The British government has now clearly reneged yet again on its promises to lift the lid on collusion and the fact that the Irish government has chosen to publish the judge's findings on the Gardai shows that there is now a clear rift between the two governments on this issue.

The British refusal to publish flies in the face of all the promises made by Tony Blair's government that the matters investigated by Judge Cory would be made public.

The British government's U-turn on the issue, so soon after its refusal to fully co-operate with Judge Barron's investigation into the security services' role in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, shows clearly that the issue of collusion is still close the heart of the British establishment at Whitehall.

Tony Blair appears almost powerless in the face of the opposition of his securocrats to any disclosure of its role in the murder of scores if not hundreds of ordinary Irish nationalists as well as political opponents of the state.

The implications of this decision do not bode well for the peace process in general for if there is to be any genuine reconciliation in this society then the British government must play its part in lifting the lid off the dirty war.

Its refusal to countenance doing so in even a tiny number of cases will dishearten the representatives of the nationalist parties at this critical time in the political process as they demand that the two governments implement the commitments contained in the provisions of the Joint Declaration to cement the peace.

It is incumbent now on the British government in particular to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are willing to be part of the solution to our problems on this island rather than remaining part of the problem.

Opening up the shadowy world of the securocrats could make a huge contribution to achieving a lasting resolution.

Keeping the dirty secrets under lock and key can only prolong the process of conflict resolution.

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